Last updated 6th November 2020
The Being Witnesses to Jesus Christ Vision 2026 theme is encouraging people to be authentic witnesses: naturally sharing their faith in words and actions in their spheres of influence.
Light the Beacons: “You are the light of the world. A town built on hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5.13-14)
Call out Caedmons to speak their own languages: “Utterly amazed… we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own languages” (Acts 2.11)
In the 7th century, there was an incredible flowering of mission in the North. St Hilda is well known – she was abbess of a mixed monastery in Whitby that sent out bishops, evangelists all across Britain. Caedmon is far less well known. He was a cattle herder, who looked after the animals in the monastery. He was shy and tongue tied: he found it very difficult to make himself understood.
But one night he had dream that he can sing a heavenly song about the creation of the world. When he woke up he can remember the song – in fact he can still sing it. He told his boss and his boss told Hilda who invites Caedmon to sing at the feast.
This was the start of an incredible ministry – Caedmon would sing the gospel in the local Anglo-Saxon language in words that the ordinary people could understand.
There are modern day Caedmons everywhere. Often in hiding, tongue-tied, unable to get their words out, but it seems the Spirit of God releases them to speak the wonders of God in their own language. It is beautiful to behold.
Sharing the Gospel with confidence
Meeting human need: action as well as words
Approximately a third (80) of parishes in the Diocese of Blackburn are in the bottom 20% for income deprivation and over half of the population of the diocese live in these parishes. In relation to health, Lancashire’s health profiles are worse in all areas: life expectancy from birth (male and female); under 75 mortality rates from all causes, all cardiovascular diseases, cancer and suicide rates. COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact on some of the vulnerable in our communities with rising unemployment and food poverty. Within this context, enabling action that has a transformative impact on those struggling in our communities is a key priority under Vision 2026.
Being Witnesses in Creation
Responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God’s creation. In early 2020, the Church of England’s General Synod set new targets for all parts of the church to reduce carbon emissions and be carbon neutral by 2030. The Diocese of Blackburn is actively working towards this goal.
Planting 10 Strategic Church Plants and 200 New Local Congregations
A key objective under Vision 2026 is to normalise the planting of 'New Local Congregations’ as a key mechanism for evangelism and church growth, across contexts and traditions. These congregations could be at different times, in different locations, in different styles - reaching out to new groups of people in different ways.